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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 7-6 vs. 6-7, How This Season Will Be Defined

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UK Athletics

UK Athletics

I’ll be honest, the last couple weeks of UK football have been very disappointing for me as a fan.  Before the season began, the obvious benchmark for whether this would be a good season or not was 6 wins.  After beating Missouri that became basically a lock.  But in a strange twist of fate that win suddenly vaulted UK into a realistic chance to win the SEC East.  And as much as fans wanted to stick to that 6 win plateau as the goal of the year, I think sometimes expectations have to change during a season.  UK has had a realistic chance of winning the SEC East this late into the season maybe never.  And this year, it was there.  But the last two weeks have pushed UK back to 5-5 and the way the Cats have lost is reminiscent of the last 25 years of UK football.  That has been what is most disappointing.  Not the fact that UK blew a good chance at the SEC title game but the way they have done it, untimely turnovers, poor defense, etc is something that is not new to us.

Now, with that said, no matter how this season ends in the final 2-3 games, clearly this program has made progress this year (sans an Austin Peay loss).  No matter how much the expectations have changed mid-season, this program is better and the future looks really bright for 2017.

Let’s assume UK wins on Saturday.  Probably a pretty good bet.  That leaves the Cats at 6-5 on the year with Louisville and a bowl opponent left.  So I wonder:

What is the overall assessment of the season if the Cats finish 6-7 or 7-6?

Obviously, if they win both games and finish 8-5 it was an AWESOME year.  But the odds would say UK is likely to drop 1 of the final 2 games.  If UK plays Texas in the bowl game as some predictions have, the Cats will likely be underdogs in both the UL and Texas games.  I think they certainly can beat Texas and wouldn’t be surprised if UK gives UL a run for its money.  But what if UK happens to lose both games?  That would be a 6-7 season with 4 losses in the final 5 games, and only an Austin Peay win in there.  The wins on the year would be New Mexico State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Mississippi State, Austin Peay.  Again, the season would be considered PROGRESS but would you have a sour taste how it finished?  Would you have the same feeling as 2014 and 2015 with the Cats floundering down the stretch?

Now, think about the better scenario.  A win over Louisville, crushing their national title hopes, and I frankly don’t care what the bowl score is.  Lose 90-0 to Texas or anybody and it doesn’t matter to me.  The season would be a rousing success, not only because it would be a winning season but because of the Louisville win and what that would mean.  Of course it is far more likely the Cats drop the game to UL and have a better chance against whatever bowl opponent they get.  So let’s say that happens.  A 6-6 UK team against another team likely in the 6-6 or 7-5 range.  I think if that scenario happens (and is the most likely scenario), part of me thinks that is almost MUST WIN territory.  Not must win in some way that Mark Stoops job depends on it or that 2017 wouldn’t have excitement but must win for the momentum.  A 6-7 season is a losing season.  A 7-6 season is a winning season.  Winning a bowl game, much like UK did in 2006, can lead to summertime excitement from the fans and that momentum can carry over into the next year, much like it did in 2007.

I think the Austin Peay game can be a nice reset for this Cats team.  The excitement after the Missouri game was a great chance for the Cats to do something special.  The last 2 weeks have eliminated that but it doesn’t mean this season doesn’t have great potential.  The last time UK won 8 games was 2007 and this team still has that chance.  But if UK goes into a bowl game at 6-6, I think that makes that bowl game HUGE for both players and fans.  What about you?

Would a 6-7 season or a 7-6 season leave you with the same feelings going into the offseason?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

13 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: 7-6 vs. 6-7, How This Season Will Be Defined



  1. Jiminy Crickets
    8:53 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    beating UL or Texas (or whatever bowl team) would be huge because it would only be the SECOND time in 4 years Stoops would have beaten a team that finished the season with a 0.500 record or better.

    Everyone sees “progress” but the last 2 seasons they started the season 5-2, only to lose the last 5 games.
    This season they started 5-3, only to LIKELY lose 3 out of last 4 with winless non-major Austin Peay as the only win.

    Until Stoops wins a game he “shouldnt”, count me as skeptical. A win over UL or eventual bowl game would show real progress, a loss in both UL and Bowl proves nothing except we are better than terrible teams like Vandy and Missouri



    • EdC
      9:27 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      After decades of UK football dating back to Stoll field … what he Jiminy said. Beating bad teams on a weaker schedule doesn’t tell us if the team is getting better in any real way.



  2. BluKudzu
    9:03 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    We are going to a bowl for the first time, in many years. Better than I thought we would ever do after the Florida game. I think whatever happens, it is still better than not going to a bowl.
    Just having the opportunity to be in the brief conversation of an SEC Championship, was far more than most would have thought possible, certainly, me.
    It is not a good season, it is a better season.



  3. kampus korner
    9:13 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Prior to the beginning of the season, many UK fans believed 6 wins would be the bare minimum to demonstrate some indication of improvement. This is because it appeared UK was well on its way to at least 6 win seasons or more during the previous two years before it radically collapsed.

    A 6 win season would be an undisputed statistical improvement by one win over Stoops’s three previous seasons but has UK’s performance this season caused Big Blue Nation to have unbridled optimism about UK’s football future under Stoops? Probably not. First, if UK only wins 6 games, none of those wins will be over a team with a winning record. UK blew a game it should have won against another team without a winning record, Southern Mississippi on UK’s home field. Southern Mississippi has since been beaten by the likes of University of Texas at San Antonio, Charlotte and Old Dominion.

    While UK’s running game has been incredibly impressive, the rest of the offense has been mediocre at best. UK receivers still drop passes during critical moments during the game just like they have during all of Stoops’ tenure. There is certainly no basis to feel confident that our passing game will improve even with better receivers because of the future uncertainties at quarterback. Drew Barker may never play again. Stephen Johnson is doing his best but he has to prove he is a SEC caliber quarterback. UK has quarterbacks redshirted and coming in as freshman with good resumes but we’ve seen what quarterback good resumes are worth, not much.

    Our defense seemed to have improved when Stoops took over calling the plays but it was clear over the last two games that UK is still a second tier SEC defensive team when it plays the Georgia’s and Tennessee’s. We should have no problem stopping Austin Peay but many UK fans fear Louisville may score 70 against us.

    On the other hand, should UK upset Louisville and win its bowl game, Stoops will have definitely moved UK up a notch by finishing 8-5. Such a finish would be a major cause for optimism. Finishing the season out at 7-6 will better than finishing it out at 6-7 but given the opposition we defeated, such a record is not likely to elevate the optimism of Big Blue Nation.



    • WeareBBN
      9:14 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      well said



    • EdC
      9:35 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      Agreed but there is undeniably a contingent of BBN that thinks any bowl game, even if gained by weak scheduling has significant meaning which always means football won’t be held to anything close to the standard basketball is.

      I don’t think bad bowl games are an accomplishment. I see them as close to the same as a participation trophy so until I see actually being competitive in the entirety of the SEC otherwise I’m not a believer.



    • memphis wildcat
      10:35 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      EdC – there are only a handful of college football teams that should be held to the same standard as the UK basketball team – ie, expect to make the Final Four or CFB Playoff each year. So if you believe the UK football team should be held to the same standard as the UK basketball team then you will always be disappointed – and, imo, unrealistic.

      Now – I do believe UK football should have gotten to Atlanta at least once (and probably twice) since the SEC started its championship game 25(?) years ago. So in that respect, going 6-6 to get to a bowl by beating sub 500 teams is not a high enough standard but given the past 5 to 7 years, it is fair for this year. Next year, a warmer weather bowl – with an outside shot at ATL – should be the standard.



    • EdC
      10:55 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      memphis … there is no reason the school that chased off Bear Bryant has any less claim to excellence than Miss, Miss State, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn. Are those towns better to live in than Lexington while you’re in college? Really? I don’t know where we are right now in revenue but the last time I saw it UK football was a top 20 earner in all sports and topped UK basketball. What Mitch has done with that money is largely put it toward lots of non-revenue sports. If UK fans are good with that fine. I’m one that isn’t good with that. We COULD hire or make serious runs at top tier coaches and coaching staffs that have proven to improve players, who have demonstrated they understand clock management, etc. etc. Instead the administration allows Mitch to hire a conga line of coaches that aren’t that. Before anybody tries to sing the praises of any recently UK Hall of Fame inducted coaches … he had a record of 48% wins. Even Vandy has had more. How about we at least hold football to the top 1/2 of the SEC would that sound better?



    • memphis wildcat
      1:52 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

      EdC – I agree the UK should have same as Miss, Miss State, GA UT and Auburn but you said same standard as basketball team. That would imply to me that we should expect the same of the UK football team that Bama fans expect of their football team. BTW, ole miss has never made it to ATL – I stated I would hold UK football to a higher standard than never to ATL. On the other hand, AU expects to play for a NC almost every year. Will stand by my comment that expecting UK Football to play for a NC every year or almost every year is appropriate.

      I believe you and I are closer in agreement and agree at a minimum should hold up better to top half. NO EXCUSE to lose to ANY team 30 years in a row – Glad to finally see some of the revenue you mention going to football.



    • memphis wildcat
      1:54 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

      sorry – not appropriate to play for NC every year or almost….my screen was jumping around

      But I would answer YES to your last question



  4. WeareBBN
    9:13 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Have to be realistic, even as fans. YES a bowl game is great for many reasons. Also have to look at the fact we have only beaten bad teams and we have lost to bad/struggling teams. The USM loss is a horrible loss. Losing at UF would not be a horrible loss normally but the way we lost is a horrible loss. Also think about the Vandy game, if that TE catches a wide open TD with like 12 seconds left we lose. If we miss that 51 yard FG vs MSU we lose, and those were bad teams at home. Difference is we did win those 2 and the past couple years we lost those type games. Down side is both should have been blowouts as the USM game should have. No team we beat is going to a bowl, I don’t think so like others have said beat someone that matters. I do like the players this staff is getting, we need depth, we need a DC not a friend. This group is full of fighters as in the past when we gave up that 95 yard scoop and score to MSU we would have folded, not this group. Any type of D and we may be at 7 or 8 wins already as the UGA, USM and UT games could have been won. I think the staff and team are on the right track and will renew my season tix and show up to games {been to all but Vandy this year} as a show of support..



  5. foamfinger
    9:58 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    A bowl game is a bowl game, especially if it is the first bowl in a few years. Stoops has been able to recruit better, but development in some key positions has been poor due to a few reasons:

    1) He was forced to play his starters too much because the drop off was too great. The depth chart didn’t give younger players real experience, so instead of being gradually exposed to real game situations, they get thrown in after the starters have moved on.

    2) He was forced to play too many true freshmen instead of giving them a redshirt year to bulk up and digest more of the playbook. A good place to see this is the secondary. A lot of sophomores who are playing really well, but they are still having sophomore-like mistakes in coverages/communication (4th Quarter Georgia game). While they will be fine, some of the explosives plays given up or the offense sputtering is due to how much youth we have on the team. We are STILL one of the youngest teams in America.

    3) Jr. College transfers. Stoops has said himself that they are stopgap measures that he has had to rely upon because of depth issues. Some of them have been our best players and have factored into my first point.

    Thankfully, our offensive line is going to look good, although I am worried about Center. Our defense has been able to slowly rotate more players in and out. Those extra bowl practices will help a lot as red shirting scout team players are given more time for coaches to see where they are at and start planning for next year.



  6. Bluebloodtoo
    12:15 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

    I saw progress this year and I saw hope. I would feel better if that fans and players both carried that hope into next year. That combined with better on field performance will keep progress going in the right direction so we can attract better players and start to have more depth.